The team at MPOWER fill us in on EMERGE, an essential, anonymous, online survey to discover how the pandemic and lockdown have affected the sexual health and wellbeing of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. You can take part here.
The COVID-19 crisis has had an enormous impact in Ireland and affected almost every area of life. From queer venue closures, sexual health clinic restrictions and stay at home orders, our community may have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
As restrictions begin to lift and we start to enjoy the things we have missed over the past year or more – it’s important for us to understand how much COVID really has impacted our lives, and what resources and services we need to develop to ensure we’re all able to get back to healthy and pleasurable sex and social lives.
The MPOWER team at HIV Ireland has decided to do just that. They’ve teamed up with a world-renowned research team at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to create a survey with the aim of understanding the experiences of gay and bisexual men during the COVID crisis to help guide recovery efforts.
The EMERGE survey launches today and asks gay and bisexual men, cis and trans, questions about sex, socialising, health, and wellbeing with the aim of having enough information to develop responses that will help gay and bi men enjoy life post-pandemic.
The survey, and the work of MPOWER generally, is focussed on gay and bi men as many guys in our community experience distinct vulnerabilities, including greater challenges around sexual health, mental health and substance use. Restricted sexual health services during the crisis, coupled with the isolation that can come from social distancing, has likely impacted our sexual and mental health even more.
Equally, it is really important that services run with our needs in mind; to do that, service providers need to understand what those needs are. After the disruption of the past 16 months the picture has never been less clear and it’s vital our voices are heard.
Adam Shanley from the MPOWER programme at HIV Ireland says “Our work has always been led by the community we seek to support. Understanding what life has been like for gay and bi men across Ireland during COVID will help us to create services and resources that support your health and pleasure as we emerge from the pandemic. We want you to be part of shaping the response by completing the EMERGE Survey today.”
According to Dr Charles Witzel of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine “Understanding the scale of impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the sexual health, mental health and well-being of men who have sex with men is a critical first step in designing responses which will aid recovery efforts and reduce health inequalities. EMERGE is designed to understand how you have been impacted by COVID-19 and the ways your needs might be met.”
EMERGE is a totally anonymous online survey of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (cis and trans) who have lived in the Republic of Ireland during the COVID-19 crisis. The survey is available in three languages: English, Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish.
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